On-Air

K-EARTH 101′s Jhani Kaye Remembers His Mentor & Friend, Dick Clark

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Photo: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Photo: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

I had the privilege of directing Dick Clark in television commercials for 17 years. But the real privilege was to be able to call him my mentor and friend… and to have him consider me as a friend as well.

Our best times together came after the camera stopped rolling and the lights were out. We shared many lunches and dinners together, typically with his beautiful wife Kari and my partner Kenny. There is one time in particular when we were all in the kitchen of Dick’s beautiful home (one of several) in Malibu. Kari couldn’t get the stove working properly and we all pitched-in to solve the problem. There were lots if laughs as we struggled with what should have been as easy assignment.

He was the most gracious person ever. Serving drinks to his guests personally from behind his bar where the “secret passage” for his dogs to transit from one area of the house to another was hidden.

He greeted everyone as if he knew you personally. Always greeting new guests in the eye and with that warm, welcoming handshake.

My best birthday ever was last year when Ken drove me to a restaurant on the beach… only to be greeted by Dick and Kari for a wonderful lunch overlooking the Pacific. A private lunch with a man my mother used to watch on television when I would come home from school! I never imagined that one day I would ever be able to meet him – let alone direct him in TV commercials – and visit with him personally. Such a wonderful man.

Dick loved learning what was happening in radio. He also took great joy in being a father figure and offering advice about my career. I could never thank him enough for what he did behind the scenes to further my career.

To say he will be missed is an understatement. He is loved by millions and literally helped thousands of young hopefuls go forth in their quest for a career in broadcasting. Generosity was part of his DNA, helping more people than you could imagine. “Big” names that fell on hard times received a huge helping hand from Dick.

Most people don’t know that Dick liked caricatures of frogs. We’d spot one during our travels and bring it home as a gift. We loved seeing him smile when we’d give him yet another one for his collection.

Dick and Kari loved their dogs and had many four-footed friends over the years; most in groups of three. They owned the halls of Dick Clark Productions and you were always instructed to stand aside if they came running through… and to never disturb them if they were sleeping. Dick even agreed to have my own dog, a white Samoyed named Kimo,  appear in one of our commercials. He wasn’t trained, but Dick got an “A” performance out if him by hiding Kimo’s favorite treat – ice – in his hands. Some of the out takes were so funny that he used them on “Bloopers & Practical Jokes” – just one of the many network shows that Dick produced.

Dick and Kari’s right hand at DCP is Amy… and I would be remiss by not noting her tremendous contributions to Dick & Kari both personally, and professionally. Amy’s a gem, and greatly loved by the family.

There are hundreds of other memories that I would love to share… but I am typing this all on an iPhone at an airport and I apologize for any typos in the process.

Thank you Dick, for being my friend and counselor. For sharing special times with us… and for allowing me to help you in such small ways these past few years. New Years Eve will never be the same as the new year draws near… but millions of people will recall your smile and hear your voice as those last few seconds are counted down. We love you very much.

Jhani

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